Sir Bradley Wiggins happy with condition ahead of May's Giro d'Italia
By Matt Westby. Last Updated: 25/03/13 4:01pm
Bradley Wiggins finished fifth at the Volta a Catalunya
Six weeks out from the start of the Giro d'Italia, Sir Bradley Wiggins has insisted he is happy with his current condition and is not concerned about finishing fifth at last week's Volta a Catalunya.
The 2012 Tour de France winner started the seven-stage race with two impressive displays of attacking intent inside the first three days, but later saw his challenge fade on the second of two mountain-top finishes and then again on the concluding stage into Barcelona.
It followed a difficult week at the Tour of Oman last month, when the 32-year-old lost time on the opening day due to a crash and lacked the race fitness to work his way back up the general classification.
However, he is adamant that while results have not been as eye-catching as those of Team Sky team-mate and compatriot Chris Froome, who has two victories and one second place to his name already this season, hard work in training has more than compensated.
"When I look back at what I have done since January, I have done a lot of work - more work than last year," Wiggins, who has made May's Giro d'Italia his No 1 priority for 2013, told teamsky.com.
"I really enjoy training and I am pleased with the level I have got back to [his condition during last year's Tour]. There were times when I thought maybe I would never get back to that level.
"This last week has been really good. It has been a hard week, but that is a good sign, I think, more than anything.
"My last race was Oman and I didn't really get a lot out of it because I was quite tired. So it [Catalunya] has been a good little test really because it is not easy with the summit finishes."
Wiggins made a thrilling start to the Volta a Catalunya, forcing an unexpected breakaway on stage one with an attack on the descent of the Alt de Collsacreu, and then blowing the peloton apart with a late attack on stage three's climb to the summit finish at Vallter 2000.
"This year we have been working more on the explosive climbing and things like that because the racing is going that way more."
Sir Bradley Wiggins
But he was caught out on the following stage, when a combination of factors meant the Briton was powerless to reel in a solo ride to victory by Ireland's Dan Martin that effectively decided the race.
He also dropped from fourth to fifth in the general classification on the final day, after Italy's Michele Scarponi leapfrogged him by joining a late breakaway.
Despite those setbacks, Wiggins feels he displayed a climbing prowess in Spain that is likely to be crucial to his hopes of victory at the Giro, which takes place from May 4-26.
"This year we have been working more on the explosive climbing and things like that because the racing is going that way more," he explained.
"The Giro climbs are more that way, and on Vallter a few days ago, the first signs were that I still had good legs to attack. So it seems to be working.
"The training we do now I never imagined we would be doing three years ago. It just steps up each year, always trying to improve because we have never stopped and said 'OK, this works so we will do the same again'. It has always to improve and be better."